Care home plan for Hornsea school that gave Wakefield kids a taste of the seaside
A SCHOOL that has been open for more than eight decades could be turned into a care home and houses.
Campaigners lost their battle to save Hornsea Residential School, which was run by Wakefield Council, last year.
For more than 80 years the school gave young people from West Yorkshire a taste of the seaside.
However, the authority revealed two years ago it could no longer afford to subsidise the school.
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Now, Yorkare Homes is proposing to transform the site into a care home and houses, including seven acres of green space.
John Kilby, 81, who lives opposite the site in Hull Road, said: "It is a shame the school has closed, but I can see why, as the running costs were enormous and the building was running down.
"I think it will be a worthwhile development, assuming it is aesthetically pleasing and the trees aren't all cut down.
"It would also block any further development in that direction."
The Hornsea Residential Centre Ltd was set up as a social enterprise, to try to save the school.
However, it failed in its bid, which was supported by residents in East and West Yorkshire.
Stuart Boothman, of the group, said recently: "The moral support was strong, but the financial support did not match.
"The loss of the residential facility in Hornsea will be a loss to the town as well as to the young people of Wakefield District – and as we have said before, once it is gone, it will be gone for ever."
The facility is currently made up of relatively old wooden structures that can accommodate 54 young people, plus seven staff in dormitory blocks, with a separate toilet and shower block.
In recent years, the occupancy rate was only 35 per cent.
The closure follows the Schools' Forum In Wakefield's decision to discontinue subsidising the centre through a centrally held dedicated schools' grant.
John Miller, of the Hornsea and District Civic Society, said his mother-in-law, Betty Rawlinson, visited the school on August 22, 1938.
He said: "She attended Lawefield Lane School in Wakefield and visited Hornsea for three weeks.
"She kept a diary at the time, which just said 'go to Hornsea'.
"She can remember coming here and remember going to the Floral Hall and playing the grand piano.
"When she came up to see us in Hornsea recently we took her back to the school, which she remembered."
The number of Wakefield schools using the centre for residential visits has declined over the years and the cost to upgrade and modernise the building, opened in 1937, is estimated at £1.5m.
Mr Miller said: "It is a shame the school has closed but I think the present scheme is the best we can expect.
"I am not too unhappy with the possible plans for the future."